Blacksmiths in Suffolk Archive

If measuring up your standard window for a curtain pole was easy, measuring up a bay window involves a few more steps and measurements to take. Bays can be curved or have a number of bends based on the number of windows contained in the bay. The more bends, the more measurements are needed. To take a typical example, let’s go through measuring up a four-bend bay.

First of all, rustle up someone to help with the measuring, as bays are usually too large for one pair of outstretched arms to manage. The most important thing to bear in mind when measuring is that true symmetry rarely exists in the real world. Never assume one measurement is the same as another because they look symmetrical. Measure each line to the nearest millimetre. And if you have to bend the tape to get a measurement, start the tape at that end. If the tape has to be bent, the reading cannot be trusted. Use a pencil to mark where you are measuring to and from for accuracy.

As the diagram shows, a four-bend bay has six points, A to F. Measurements are needed for the following:

A to F, the width of the window.

A to B (including finials), B to C, C to D, D to E and E to F (including finials).

In order for Made by the Forge to produce a single accurate bay window curtain pole, we also need the diagonals measured:

A to D, A to E. C to E, C to F. B to D, B to E, B to F.

Have a look at the top left and right of the diagram. The ends of the pole that wrap around to re-join the wall line are called returns. If you want returns, we need two more measurements:

1 to A and F to 2.

If you visit our bay page here, you will see many types of bay. Click on the one that you have and the measurement boxes are all ready for your figures and the online calculator will show you the price.

As ever, any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call on +44 (0)1473 487118 or contact us via email.

 

Tree Planting collaboration February 2021

Conservation takes work. It takes commitment. It’s not enough just to plant a tree. It has to be nurtured and tended to. While we at Made by the Forge take our pledge of ‘one tree planted for every order’ very seriously, we know that’s just the start of the story. Your tree begins a decades long journey and it’s as important to know that it’s in good hands. Details mean a great deal. Houghton Hall Estate insisted on buying biodegradable tubes to keep the saplings safe, a gesture that convinced us more than ever that we were working with people who care as we do, like-minded custodians of the natural world.

On a bright but cold spring day in February this year, Robert and company from the estate geared up and began planting.  Made by the Forge donated the trees, which were planted using the previously mentioned biodegradable tubes and cones. The planting conditions were perfect and the task was only completed when the three thousand or more young trees were firmly in the ground. Approximately one kilometre of double row hedge trees was installed across the established beetle bank which already houses over-wintering insects and will provide much needed habitat for the surrounding birds and wild inhabitants.

Established beetle bank, Houghton

There are many advantages to this addition of a hedge across the beetle bank. A number of smaller fields are created and will act as important windbreaks, which will, in turn, help prevent soil erosion. The species already living in the adjoining landscape are numerous and beautiful to witness. They need any help they can get and tree planting gives them so many more options for food and shelter. A few of the birds spotted recently searching for seeds, invertebrates and a suitable home, were corn buntings, yellowhammers, stonechats, wagtails, redwings, fieldfares and lapwings, all of whom are a delight to see.

Soon the growing season will be upon us and the life of the new trees will begin. We are just so pleased and thrilled that we have been a small part of providing a little more shelter, more biodiversity and some extra carbon storage for our wild countryside. Our gratitude goes out to Robert and his team of committed conservationists.

 

Jane’s professional life is as colourful as the fabrics she loves so much. She’s been an entertainment promoter working with the UK’s top comic talent, as well as organising Torvill and Dean’s ice shows. She spent time in the fashion industry and is now running her own interior design company. We’ve had a decade long relationship with Jane so we first asked her how she found us…

“I found Made by The Forge quite by chance, long before the joys of social media were constantly sending us new links and feeds. I think it must have been a mention in a magazine where our paths crossed. I had been using forged poles for years, but when my current blacksmith (happily, also my partner) retired and moved to carpentry I couldn’t find anyone local who could come up with anywhere near his standard. Forging is one skill, but adding the design element is quite another and I was immediately impressed with the way Richard had interpreted this gap in the market. There was an abundance of metal poles around, but none capable of hanging the heavy velvet curtains which I was favouring at the time while still remaining sleek and simple.

“Another very important aspect of my choice to now only use Made by the Forge is that even if I could find a local artisan blacksmith with a great eye for design, of which I am sure there are many, I would be surprised if they had the overall ability to interpret my needs and meet my deadlines. Tying in all the finishing touches of a refurbishment can be tricky at the best of times. Knowing that Richard and his team will have the order on site exactly when it was promised, will jump to instantly and pop extra rings in the post if I have miscalculated and if I suddenly need another last minute pole, will do everything in their power to whizz that order through, is very reassuring. The prices are excellent, there are no hidden costs and I have no idea how they can offer such good shipping rates for such heavy items! And so the relationship was born, why would I look elsewhere when this works so well!”

Call Jane: 02380 812239
Email: jane@janemcintyredesign.com Website: https://janemcintyredesign.com

Over the past few months, many of us have enjoyed taking the time to browse online or flick through magazines for interiors inspiration. Whether you scroll on platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest or pick up the latest issue of the major home décor magazines, elegant cottage kitchens are everywhere. It’s no surprise that fresh takes on the French-inspired, rustic kitchens are a mainstay of stylish interiors magazines, given their warm, inviting style and ease of maintenance.

On Instagram and Pinterest, homeowners and renters alike are making some simple changes to transform their kitchens, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Many interior gurus have taken to painting their existing kitchen furniture to give it that cottage kitchen feel. Classic navy tones, soft greys, duck-egg blues, cream hues or light sage greens can all be perfect colours to create a classic, rustic look, which gives dated kitchens a new lease of life.

Finishing touches

If you’re thinking of revamping your kitchen, don’t forget the importance of finishing touches. From freshly-painted cupboard fronts to bespoke hardware, a few simple tweaks can make a huge difference to the overall look of your kitchen space. Changing dated wooden hooks and handles for iron pull handles can really transform your kitchen.

Stylish storage

To help create the illusion of space some opt for open-fronted storage; taking the doors off cupboards or putting up shelving units for crockery and glassware is a nice way to create a relaxed, lived-in feel. Open-fronted cupboards, shelves and dressers make it easy to access crockery and cookware, as well as reducing the time it takes to put things away. Just make sure that you use strong, iron brackets to support your shelves, this is particularly important in the kitchen, where pots, pans and crockery place a heavy load on cupboards and shelving. Iron kitchen racks can be sturdier and more hard-wearing than wooden or MDF cupboards, and are just as suitable for offering a rustic take on suburban style as they are for showing off the countryside charm of cottages and rural homes.

Hang pots and pans

If cupboard and shelf space are at a premium in your kitchen, wrought iron hooks are a fantastic way to store your pots and pans, keeping them off surfaces, whilst contributing to that cosy cottage ambience. ‘S’ hooks on metal brackets are a lovely feature, often used in traditional country cottage kitchens; made from handcrafted wrought iron, brackets and hooks can help to create a handmade personalised feel in a kitchen, whether you’re renovating or simply sprucing up a tired, old kitchen.

Rustic-style textiles

Varied textures and fabrics are a quintessential feature of a chic cottage kitchen. If you’re choosing curtains in your kitchen area, then you might like to consider a handmade curtain pole. Linen curtains in muted tones are a great choice, combining the rustic style of natural fibres with the understated elegance of wrought iron French-style curtain poles offers a modern, stylish take on farmhouse style. Natural linens, understated colours and bespoke metal hardware look fantastic with natural stone or wooden flooring, creating a rich array of textures.

To set your interior apart from the flat-pack catalogues, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or even install a new kitchen from scratch. Whether you’re looking to lend a new lease of life to your old kitchen, transform this important space in your home, or offer a personal touch to a mass-produced kitchen, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. So, choose a muted, elegant tone for walls and cupboards, and accessorise with handmade fittings to create a chic, bespoke look in your cottage kitchen.

The French have always had the reputation for style and knowing it when they see it. The well known French Rod or French Pole is a design classic, one that we respect but also make in our own distinctive and unique fashion.

Interior designers, discerning individuals and first-rate curtain makers, like Magenta Interiors, all choose our French Style Curtain Poles. They look traditional, classy, superbly crafted and they do their job.

“Made by the Forge is my first stop for the best French poles on the market.” Magenta Interiors – Bespoke Soft Furnishings

There are no finials to choose as each end curves ninety degrees back to the wall where the pole slides into a bracket. The advantage of such a pole is that it is much more efficient at keeping out drafts.

You can install a French style curtain pole for a curtain over a window or a door to keep a howling wind at bay. Depending on the age of your home, (or of your cosy gite in the south of France if you are so lucky) there’s always a draft looking for a way in. The curtain on a French Style pole will then create a more complete shelter from the wind.

Why not consider adding some ‘va va voom!’ to your room?

In creating a new product, like Made by the Forge’s fire pits, you often have to build it, live with it and put it through its paces to see how it can be improved. We had a lot of fun road testing both the huge Entertainer and the more portable Glamper fire pits. I heartily recommend an outdoor-cooked full English!

Henry from Apples from Suffolk commented recently on the Glamper he took away on holiday with him last year. “It looks beautiful and you can feel the quality craftsmanship.  Even cooking a few sausages becomes an occasion and its portable too!”

As summer is knocking on spring’s door, we decided to redesign the product for more ease of use and attractiveness. The grilling surface on both fire pits has been reworked. It is now laser cut for precision while the outer ring is then handcrafted with hooks and handles. These enable you to effortlessly lift it off giving you the full heat of the fire pit to enjoy as the sun goes down.

This means the cooking surface now includes space at the sides and around the circumference of the grill to keep cooked food hot and if you’re using a pan to fry eggs for example, it’s somewhere to keep it warm while the sausages are browning. Get seriously fired up with Made by the Forge’s new and improved Entertainer and Glamper fire pits

Handcrafted, stylish and strong are some of the words describing the fabulous shelf brackets we are making here at Made by the Forge. Recently we received an email, from a high-end interior designer, with the opening line;

“I need to order some more of these wonderful brackets!”

Praise indeed and we’ve had countless interior enthusiasts raving about them. They are incredibly versatile and can be used with any wood of your choice. At present, we don’t supply the actual shelves but after encouraging feedback, we’re making enquiries into providing the wood along with the shelf brackets.

These hand-forged, dark iron brackets have been successfully situated in both modern rustic interior spaces and contemporary ones to great effect. A customer kindly sent an image of her newly installed shelf brackets. They are particularly stunning because of the creative backlighting in her kitchen, a great idea.

The image below shows how our customer Emma furnished her glamping pod with a shelf under the TV so the handsets were all tidily off the floor.

“I’m really pleased with your lovely ironwork, and it’s made all the difference in terms of the finishing touches to both my own property over the years, and now to my newly completed glamping pod – The Owlery. Everyone is extremely complimentary. Thanks again for providing such an excellent service.”
Best wishes
Emma
Loch Sunart Yarns & Buttons

So deciding to put up one or more handy wall shelves is easy with our made to measure brackets. You choose the width of shelf for your needs and we make the brackets just for you. The raw metal is finished in a natural, locally sourced beeswax which gives the iron a beautiful sheen. The brackets can also be finished in a matt black paint according to your needs.

“I have just ordered 6 brackets for my newly decorated office space and am so looking forward to getting the contents of my office out of the boxes and up off the floor. I am the sort of person who likes to be able to see where things are so they are easily found!”

Ordering with us is easy. We have experts at the end of the telephone or an email whichever you choose.

We are very pleased to announce that we have recently received a grant from the New Anglia Growth Hub, working with Suffolk County Council, to help towards the purchase of a number of new tools for our forge including the Airbench, an environmentally friendly dust and fume extractor. Our commitment to always supply the best wrought iron products will now become slightly easier with these new strings to our bow.

Just before an exciting new launch coming this Spring 2018, Richard explained, “Our passion for quality is our inspiration to craft products that will last a lifetime, products that will add real character to your home. Having these new tools will help us to grow as a team and, with any luck, will lead to new employment in the forge in the near future.” He continued, “I would especially like to thank William Millar from the New Anglia Growth Hub and Caroline Mowle from Suffolk County Council for helping with the forms – it made the paperwork so much easier!”

In the words of the New Anglia Growth Hub website, they offer: “Free support for growing businesses… and New Anglia Growth Hub can help your business access a range of business support services from hundreds of sources. The hub’s service is FREE and IMPARTIAL and can help you access grants, finance, start-up support, international trade support and other specialist advice from a single point of contact.”

The New Anglia Growth Hub can be contacted by following the link below: https://www.newangliagrowthhub.co.uk

 Image below of a red hot Ram’s Horn finial about to be hammered to perfection.

 

 

 

In the words of the BQ website (www.bqlive.co.uk), “We celebrate and inspire entrepreneurship to help businesses succeed and grow…” There’s a really nice article on BQ written by Chris Middleton on Made by the Forge and our relationship with the Manufacturing Growth Programme. The programme is a government initiative that supports manufacturing businesses and identifies where improvements can be made. Have a read…

http://www.bqlive.co.uk/manufacturing/2017/12/12/news/suffolk-blacksmith-forges-strong-growth-29447/